China Demands Japanese Explanation About "That Other Plutonium"

Tyler Durden's picture

The world has grown tired of the inexorable rise in radiation levels and propaganda-talk sourrounding nuclear issues in Japan from the government in the last few years since Fukushima changed the nation's future. However, there is another source of nuclear materials that is increasingly angering the Chinese. The tensions and rhetoric, from WWI analogs to Nazi comparisons, have risen recently; but this time, the Chinese are asking a legitimate question... "If a country claims that it sticks by the three non-nuclear principles but at same time hoards far more nuclear materials than it needs, including a massive amount of weapon-grade plutonium, the world has good reason to ask why.... After all, Abe and his cabinet have already caused too much trouble to regional peace and stability."

Via Xinhua (Tian Dongdong),

Tokyo owes world explanation over weapon-grade

If a country claims that it sticks by the three non-nuclear principles but at same time hoards far more nuclear materials than it needs, including a massive amount of weapon-grade plutonium, the world has good reason to ask why.



As a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Japan should adhere to its international obligations. As the world's only victim of nuclear attacks in the final stage of WWII, it should clearly understand the horrible consequences of nuclear proliferation.


However, five decades are not long enough for the island country, where some politicians wish, openly or privately, for nuclear arms, to return the 331 kilogram of weapon-grade plutonium -- enough for 40 to 50 nuclear bombs -- it received from the United States during the Cold War.


Some Japanese experts have said that, with necessary amounts of weapon-grade nuclear materials, their country is capable of developing nuclear bombs within a year.


Adding to the world's concern, Japan is also reportedly hoarding more than 1.2 tons of enriched uranium and another 44 tons of plutonium, which overwhelmingly dwarf its civilian demands.


The ecological and environmental catastrophe of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 had clearly showed that the superabundant nuclear materials are actually time bombs for a seismically active country like Japan.


What's more, storing more than necessary nuclear materials is also against the regulations of the nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which require countries to keep a balance between the demand and supply of nuclear materials.


The somewhat obsessive possession of nuclear materials is not the behavior of a responsible and reliable country, as Japan portrays itself in the international community.


It brings nothing but doubt and suspicion to the already volatile East Asia.


If the Japanese government truly wants to play a constructive role for regional stability, it should honestly explain its reluctance to the world and return the stored nuclear materials as soon as possible. After all, Abe and his cabinet have already caused too much trouble to regional peace and stability.

As The Diplomat's Shannon Tiezzi adds,



Currently, even though Japan has shut down its nuclear reactors (and is not using plutonium), there are plans to open a new reprocessing plant at Rokkasho. According to a report by the International Panel of Fissile Materials, this new plant would separate out about 8 tons of plutonium each year—enough “to make one thousand Nagasaki-type bombs.”




There is clear concern in China that Japan’s plutonium reserves could eventually wind up being used to develop nuclear weapons. There’s historical precedent for this—India became a nuclear-armed state after using reprocessing to gain nuclear materials. For China, Japan’s plutonium stockpile is one more piece of evidence that Shinzo Abe is seeking return to Japan’s militaristic glory days.


This accumulation of plutonium also threatens global non-proliferation efforts, and thus runs directly counter to U.S. President Barack Obama’s emphasis on nuclear security. “We simply can’t go on accumulating huge amounts of the very material, like separated plutonium, that we’re trying to keep away from terrorists,” he said in a 2012 speech at Hankuk University in Seoul. The White House has apparently been quietly pressuring Japan to drop the reprocessing plan, and to begin simply storing spent nuclear fuel rather than separating out plutonium.


There are complicated domestic reasons for Japan to continue with the opening of the Rokkasho reprocessing plant, including vested interest groups that insist on the economic benefits of continuing with construction. But Tokyo should not overlook the regional and global concern caused by opening a new reprocessing plant when Japan has no concrete plan for using or disposing of its current plutonium stockpiles.

But apart from that - everything is great in the world... it must be, US stocks are at all-time highs...

Of course, this places "ally" President Obama in an awkward position given his anti-proliferation stance... though we suspect he will have an angle: "if you like your plutonium stockpile, you can keep it."

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edotabin's picture

Japan already has a nuclear weapon: FUKUSHIMA

johnQpublic's picture

glows with the oriental L sound for an R?

grows glows

i'm totally confused

Dr. Engali's picture

How do we know that Japan's future was changed by Fukushima? Can you change the future or is it preordained? Maybe there are multiple realities playing out at the same time across multiple universes, each possible future changed by one small choice spawning a new reality. I better have another glass and contemplate this..... Fuck I think I just changed the future.

erg's picture

In some infinite multiverse scenario you get to live out your life as Janet Yellen. Now I'm getting a drink.

JohnnyBriefcase's picture

I'm calling it now: Japan nukes China.


The black swan to beat all black swans.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

If you like your unstable isotope, you are can keep your unstable isotope, just do not keep in old refrigerator on balcony.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Historical Note - Japan WWII nuclear research, heavy water separation and difussion, is conduct on Korea Peninsula. North Korea is not have Nuclear weapon because of brilliant North Korea Nuclear Physicist, but because Japan is leave technology behind. Ghost of Nishina is live on.

zaphod's picture

If you were a tiny island next to a billion plus chinese who hate you and openly talk about retribution for WWII rape, while at the same time had a crappy little army because the US hosted a massive military garrison in your boarders, I am pretty sure you would stock pile a nuclear deterent as well.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

Sure man, after you tear apart and shit on your Constitution. Being an Obamabot, I guess that notion doesn't sound strange to you...

Occident Mortal's picture

Would that be the Japanese constitution that was imposed on them by US General Douglas MacArthur?


I'm amazed they haven't torn it up earlier.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

Yes and yes.

Because waging wars for the sake of pleasing central bankers is always #doubleplusgood.

toady's picture

I'd grown tired of the 'if you like your (blank), you can keep your (blank) meme. Hell, even my third grade son is tired of that one, but I like this one;

"if you like your plutonium stockpile, you can keep it."

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Yes, but just do not to keep on apartment balcony, even in old refrigerator with pad lock.

Martel's picture

Abebombics, how kawaii! I bet their first nuke will be painted pink, with a Hell-o Kitty cartoon. A cute thing like that can do no harm.

UserLong's picture

I guess your retarded brain never heard this term: nuclear binding strategy.

merizobeach's picture

A propaganda piece out of hypocrite China followed by a propaganda piece from war-hawk publication The Diplomat.  Who's the new Tyler that ok's this shit?

Urban Redneck's picture

It is pure Chinese balderdash oozing from Diplomat monkeybutt.

Last time I checked really "nasty" plutonium was a natural byproduct of reprocessing nuclear waste to be recycled for re-use- there are 3 products of reprocessing 1) reactor fuel 2) war-monger fuel, and 3) heavily reinforced landfill fuel.

The supply of reprocessing facilities is rather limited (the options being Japan or some EU/Areva affiliate, since there is no "open for business" sign at Yucca Mountain). Japan is finishing up a huge build-out of its reprocessing capacity, and radioactive waste is a "hot" issue the EU right now. Simply doing the paperwork logistics for exporting from Japan to the EU would be a multi-billion EUR shovel-ready boondoggle to benefit the MIC and E&C firms.

So what is China suggesting, they have run out of overcapacity in all other industries and now want to get into the nuclear waste reprocessing business? What is China's plan for the byproducts which are extremely desirable to their own war-mongers who already have an excess capacity of delivery vehicles?

A better and more transparent national plan out of Japan for waste management would be a nice-to-have, but right now a better and more transparent plan to deal the FukuFuckup should be a higher priority.

UserLong's picture

I think they are suggesting: If you like your radioactive drinking water, then keep driking it. And if we don't stop Japs, you are going to drink it forever, though you may not live that long with that water.

thestarl's picture

Another glass Doc? Think that might be some seriously good weed you got there tonight Doc wish i had some lol. 

mayhem_korner's picture



I hear you can get adequate quantities of weapons-grade plutonium combing for Japan's shellfish.

American34's picture

If Japan doesn't already have the bomb they have the tech to have many in months not years.

zorba THE GREEK's picture

34...It's probably more like weeks.

Martel's picture

Abe is the bomb! He will blast the yen and yield curves like a shogun.

StychoKiller's picture

"Join me or die!  You can do no less!" -- Mr Sparkera, "The Simpsons"

Urban Redneck's picture

How long does it take it slap a new payload on a high-reliability Mitsubishi H2 rocket and have JAXA launch it from Tanegashima (which could accurately hit any major city on Earth, or create a regional EMP from hell).

The nuclear waste issue is missing the forest for a shrub.

AmericasCicero's picture

If you have weapons grade plutonium, you are 90% there

logicalman's picture

U235 is easier.

Little Boy was basically a gun with a barrel plugged with a sub-critical mass of uranium, the 'bullet' being another sub-critical mass.

The combined mass being critical.

Really easy tech.

Made a real mess of Hiroshima, though.

Plutonium is much more complicated.


Leraconteur's picture

Not a bullet. A Cup fired onto a lump.

pitz's picture

Not significantly more difficult.  Certainly the Japanese could master pit manufacturing in short order.  From there, its not much more difficult than fabricating the explosive lenses, and a few other components relating to neutron generation and, of course, the tritium boosting systems.  Trivial for the Japanese with their precision machining capability.

chump666's picture

This is why ZH kicks ass! Japan's nuclear weapon program, which most likely has amassed hundreds of tactical nukes.  The best kept secret this side of doomsday.

Supernova Born's picture

If you were a Japanese leader would you let your people get nuked a THIRD time with no "meaningful" response immediately available?


skank's picture

Aliens - I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit

Shrapnel's picture

One of few movies that never gets old.

lewietheparrot's picture


no one has seen it

Ness.'s picture

Are you talking about Ft. Knaux?  If so, lewietheparrotingfool, I give you a "like".

HellFish's picture

If China has the bomb then Japan should have the right as well.

No Representative government facing an overwhelming local adversary is bound by a treaty that threaten's its existence.

Suck on it China.

logicalman's picture

No sane human can justify nukes.

If China has the bomb, why can't I have one?

Think, you fucking dickhead,

Nukes threaten EVERYONE.

HellFish's picture

Put the genie back in the bottle then Commie. Until then deal with it.

logicalman's picture

Do you have something worth saying, or just childish insults?


theliberalliberal's picture

Looks like u started the name calling

Your name needs a /sarc tag

Dr. Engali's picture

Why does the desire for the world to rid itself of nuclear weapons make one a commie? After all the Chinese have them and they're a bunch of commies. By your definition shouldn't they be leading the world in the dismantling of said weapons?

merizobeach's picture

Perhaps he was alluding to China's hypocritical complaint.